1 Tuesday, 19th August 2003
2 (10.30 am)
3 LORD HUTTON: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.
4 Yes, Mr Dingemans.
5 MR ALASTAIR JOHN CAMPBELL (called)
6 Examined by MR DINGEMANS
7 MR DINGEMANS: Can you give his Lordship your full name.
8 A. Alastair John Campbell.
9 Q. What is your occupation?
10 A. I am the Prime Minister's Director of Communications and
12 Q. How long have you held that post for?
13 A. Since 2001, and prior to that I was his press secretary.
14 Q. You will need to keep your voice up.
15 A. Prior to that I was his press secretary.
16 Q. When did you become his press secretary?
17 A. In 1994.
18 Q. Before that, your experience was?
19 A. I was a journalist.
20 Q. Can you give a brief description of your current role?
21 A. My role is to assist the Prime Minister and the
22 Government in the development of communication strategy
23 for the Government as a whole and also on specific
24 issues as they arise.
25 Q. Throughout the course of your evidence I am going to be
1 referring to some documents that you very kindly
2 supplied to us. You have also supplied to us copies or
3 redacted copies of your diaries. Can you just, first of
4 all, explain how you keep your diaries?
5 A. I write a diary not every day but several times a week.
6 It is not intended for publication. It is a series of
7 observations about what I do and what I witness.
8 Q. When we come to those extracts, I will make it clear
9 I am dealing with parts from the diary.
10 Can I start off with the dossier, which was
11 published on 24th September 2002 by the Government?
12 When were you first aware that a dossier was being
13 written or produced?
14 A. I had been aware for some months of a different dossier
15 on the general issue of WMD.
16 Q. Right.
17 A. On the specific Iraq dossier, I became aware of that
18 during -- the intention of doing one during August, when
19 the Prime Minister and I were both on holiday and we
20 were discussing the way that the Iraq situation was
22 Q. Can I take you to a document, which is CAB/3/82, which
23 is the first draft that we have seen of the dossier
24 dated 20th June 2002.
25 A. Hmm, hmm.
1 Q. We know, from the dossier as published, this forms,
2 I think it is chapter 2 or 3 of the subsequent dossier.
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Did you see this document at the time?
5 A. I was aware of that document on --
6 probably September 5th, at that first meeting that I had
7 with John Scarlett and others about the dossier that
8 subsequently replaced this.
9 Q. Right. Was it ever intended to publish an earlier draft
10 of the dossier?
11 A. What was intended, several months earlier, was --
12 Q. Giving us a timescale; you have mentioned August.
13 A. Easter -- I beg your pardon. In Easter there was
14 a document commissioned on the general issue of WMD
15 relating to four countries, one of which was Iraq. At
16 some time, I cannot recall exactly when, but a decision
17 was taken effectively to drop that.
18 Q. Right.
19 A. Then, during August and into September, the decision was
20 taken to do a WMD dossier focused exclusively on Iraq.
21 Q. The decision to drop it, it has been suggested in
22 various media outlets that was because there was nothing
23 new in it. Was that the reason or what was the reason
24 to drop it?
25 A. No, there were two reasons really. The first was that
1 it was not a terribly good document overall as
2 a document, as something that you would want to put into
3 the public domain.
4 The other reason was that the fear that doing it at
5 the time it was being suggested was actually going to
6 ramp up, if I can use that phrase, the issue at a time
7 when, in fact, the Prime Minister and the Government
8 were trying to calm it. And then the September --
9 by September the Prime Minister took the view that this
10 Iraq -- exclusively Iraq dossier should be put into the
11 public domain.
12 Q. Can I just take you to an article in The Guardian on
13 5th September 2002 which is BBC/4/59 which in the column
14 on the left-hand side, it is an appalling reproduction,
15 suggests that:
16 "A dossier on Iraq's nuclear, biological and
17 chemical warfare capabilities was drawn up in March by
18 the Cabinet Office's joint intelligence committee..."
19 Then after some discussion, it was not published.
20 Then it goes on to say:
21 "Last Monday, a Whitehall source said that the
22 long-awaited dossier 'would no longer play a role'.
23 There was 'very little new to put into it', he said.
24 The following day, Mr Blair announced that a dossier
25 would be published in a matter of weeks."
1 Were you aware of any discussions with the media
2 about the publication of the dossier at this stage?
3 A. No, I was not.
4 Q. Do you recall when the Prime Minister's announcement
5 that there was going to be a dossier was made?
6 A. I think it was made on September 3 at a press conference
7 in Sedgefield. I cannot remember if that is the exact
8 date. It was the first press conference he did
9 following a visit to Africa.
10 Q. You had discussed with him beforehand, in August I think
11 you told us about, the proposal to put together
12 a dossier. Had there been any discussions between you
13 and the Prime Minister leading up to his announcement?
14 A. There had. The background to those discussions was the
15 fact that, as I say, during August this issue had really
16 built up quite significantly and seriously, particularly
17 in the United States, and the Prime Minister came back
18 from holiday and there was really a sense of frenzy in
19 the media about the issue of Iraq.
20 I can remember, on the flight out to Mozambique it
21 was, discussions about how we could try to calm that
22 because the sense was being given we were about to take
23 military action. And then on the flight back to
24 Sedgefield there was a further discussion about how the
25 Prime Minister would deal with the issue at the press
1 conference. That was where he said: look, I think we
2 are going to have to make clear that we are going to
3 publish this dossier focused on Iraq's WMD; and he duly
4 announced it at the press conference.
5 Q. If I may turn to your diary extracts.
6 A. Hmm, hmm.
7 Q. For 3rd September, what were the questions, towards the
8 bottom of your entry, that you considered to be the
9 toughest at this stage?
10 A. The: why now?
11 Q. In what sense do you mean that?
12 A. Why was this such an important issue to the British
13 Government now? Why Iraq? Why only Iraq, as it were,
14 that was being singled out? The answer which I think
15 the Prime Minister gave was that it was a unique threat.
16 And I think -- what the Prime Minister sought to do in
17 his answers was to explain -- this is something I think
18 he had been trying to explain for a considerable period
19 of time, that he was seeing all this intelligence
20 material coming in, which made him more and more
21 concerned about Iraq as a threat, Iraq's WMD as
22 a threat. And he wanted to put some of that into the
23 public domain.
24 Q. Was there anything that you identified as being the
25 toughest question?
1 A. You have obviously -- this is September 3 -- I beg your
2 pardon: what new evidence was there? That is right,
3 I beg your pardon.
4 Q. Can you help us: what was identified as the toughest
6 A. Sorry: what new evidence was there? He said the debate
7 had got ahead of us so we were going to do the dossier
8 earlier, in the next few weeks.
9 Q. Right. What was meant by that that sort of recording?
10 Obviously when people record diaries they are not
11 writing everything down.
12 A. That refers back to the point I made earlier, that the
13 debate, particularly in the United States, had really
14 moved on to a different level; and there was a real
15 sense of this now moving ahead of us, and the public,
16 I think through the media, getting the sense we were
17 about to take military action. And what he was saying
18 there was that any case that we make for why
19 Saddam Hussein's regime is a serious and credible threat
20 has to be based on evidence, and he wanted to share as
21 much of that evidence as possible with the public.
22 Q. Turning then to 5th September, can I take you to
23 a document called CAB/11/13? This appears to be a memo
24 from John Williams, you can see that at the top, of the
25 press office -- in fact we have heard from him -- dated
1 5th September 2002. It is copied to, amongst others,
3 A. Hmm, hmm.
4 Q. If you go down the page it says:
5 "I have looked at the 'capping' piece for the Iraq
6 dossier as a newspaper sub would. I offer the following
7 suggestions and would be happy to discuss why I believe
8 they will make the document easier for Ministers to
9 defend in interviews."
10 A. Hmm, hmm.
11 Q. Was that a document that was produced for your meeting
12 on 5th September?
13 A. Was that dated the 5th?
14 Q. Yes. If you look at the top right-hand corner.
15 A. It may have been, but the -- by then -- what the
16 meetings of the 5th and the 9th are about were agreeing
17 the process by which the WMD dossier was going to be
18 produced. And by then, because of the discussions I was
19 having with John Scarlett, the chairman of the Joint
20 Intelligence Committee, that would not actually have
21 been relevant to the discussions that we were having.
22 Q. If we go to CAB/11/14 we can see at least, you know, the
23 gist of what he is writing. There are a series of
24 bullet points et cetera about the threat posed, the
25 regime being uniquely dangerous, which I think was
1 a point you have just made.
2 A. I am not sure that is part of John William's note.
3 I think that is part of a document that the Cabinet
4 Office prepared for that discussion, which was an
5 outline of the points to make in the dossier, I think.
6 Q. On the 5th September?
7 A. Yes. I think it was. It does not look like the thing
8 I recall John -- I can check on that, but I do not think
9 it is.
10 Q. Then CAB/11/16, we can see, through an e-mail that is
11 part redacted, that there were a list of people
12 attending a meeting at 12 o'clock "today". If we look
13 at subject it says:
14 "Meeting with Alastair Campbell re Iraq dossier at
15 12 noon."
16 A. Hmm, hmm.
17 Q. We can see a number of those people. David Manning we
18 have heard from. John Scarlett, I think you have told
19 us, was chairman of the JIC.
20 A. Hmm, hmm.
21 Q. Julian Miller we have heard evidence from. He was
22 deputy to John Scarlett?
23 A. That is right.
24 Q. Tom McKane and Desmond Bowen, are you able to say who
25 they were?
1 A. Tom McKane at that point was in the Cabinet Office;
2 I think he is now back in the Ministry of Defence.
3 Desmond Bowen at that time was in the Ministry of
4 Defence; I think he is now in the Cabinet Office.
5 Q. And Paul Hammill, CIC, what does that stand for?
6 A. The CIC is the Coalition Information Centre, which is a
7 unit we set up within the Foreign Office which is
8 activated at times of international crisis.
9 Q. Then Edward Chaplin, Stephen Wright and John Williams we
10 can see from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
11 John Williams was from the press department?
12 A. And Edward Chaplin and Stephen Wright are policy
14 Q. And arrangements are made for everyone to be let in.
15 A. Yes.
16 LORD HUTTON: May I ask you: was this a meeting of the Iraq
17 Communications Group?
18 A. No, it was not, my Lord. It was an ad hoc meeting to
19 discuss the Iraq dossier and the arrangements for it.
20 The Iraq Communications Group evolved, I think it
21 actually was not formalised until later in the
22 year, November or December. But the people -- the kind
23 of people who were at this meeting became part of the
24 Iraq Communications Group.
25 LORD HUTTON: So this was a forerunner of that group, is
1 that correct?
2 A. That is right.
3 LORD HUTTON: Yes. I see. Thank you.
4 MR DINGEMANS: Can I take you to your diary entry for
5 5th September 2002?
6 A. Hmm, hmm.
7 Q. It is about six lines down. You were having
8 a discussion, I think, about the questions that you
9 could not really answer at the time. Was anything said
10 about whether there was much to have been said in
11 addition to what had been said before, at the time?
12 A. I do not recall that. I do not recall the detail of
13 that. That discussion was about whether to recall
14 Parliament, and the Prime Minister felt at that time
15 that the press conference had steadied the public debate
16 on this in the way that he had wanted to. That was what
17 that discussion was about.
18 Q. Right. Then, turning down, you relate, I think, the
19 meeting that you had had with various people, and we
20 have seen their names from the e-mail, to go over the
21 dossier. And what did you record at the time that you
22 needed to show in relation to the dossier?
23 A. That it had to be revelatory; we needed to show it was
24 new and informative and part of a bigger case.
25 Q. Was anyone offering to help write it full time?
1 A. John Williams offered to write it full time.
2 Q. Did you accept that offer?
3 A. No.
4 Q. What was the reason for that?
5 A. The decision was taken, either at that meeting or
6 certainly by the 9th, that John Scarlett, I think if we
7 go on to the 9th, I mean he talked about -- he used the
8 word "ownership", that John Scarlett felt he ought to
9 have ownership of the dossier. And I emphasised, and
10 this was spelt out in the minute that I circulated
11 following these meetings --
12 Q. Which was on the 9th?
13 A. On the 9th.
14 Q. We will come to that.
15 A. I beg your pardon.
16 Q. You emphasised; you can make the point, please.
17 A. I emphasised that the credibility of this document
18 depended fundamentally upon it being the work of the
19 Joint Intelligence Committee; and that was the
20 touchstone of our approach right through this from that
21 moment. So John Williams was very kindly, not
22 criticising him at all, he was saying -- he is a very
23 experienced writer, he was offering to write it full
24 time. I made the point and John Scarlett made the point
25 that was not sensible, it should be written by
1 John Scarlett.
2 LORD HUTTON: May I ask you, Mr Campbell, this meeting on
3 5th September, the Inquiry has been given a copy of
4 a dossier or a draft dossier dated 5th September 2002
5 which is at CAB/3/7. Had you seen that document?
6 A. This, as I recall, is the note from -- unless this is
7 the same document Mr Dingemans showed me earlier.
8 MR DINGEMANS: No.
9 A. This, I think, is a note from Tom McKane's team at the
10 time, about the kind of thing that would form the
11 outline of a WMD dossier.
12 LORD HUTTON: Well, it looks like a fairly detailed draft
14 A. How -- can somebody tell me how long it is?
15 MR DINGEMANS: Because it is very difficult for me to read
16 it all on screen, let me give you the paper extracts; it
17 is probably easier. It runs from pages 7 to 20 on that.
18 You can see parts of it had been redacted in the copies
19 we have been given.
20 A. Yes. I would say this is either the Iraq section of the
21 earlier document --
22 Q. Right.
23 A. -- or it is what Tom McKane was putting forward for that
25 Q. Right.
1 A. But the point about that meeting, as I think I recorded
2 in the minute I did on the 9th --
3 Q. Yes.
4 A. -- is that all of these papers, as it were, are now
5 redundant. There is a new dossier to be done by
6 John Scarlett, and for him to take all of this
7 information, all of this material, and to turn it into
8 a new dossier.
9 LORD HUTTON: Yes. But do you think you saw this document
10 which is headed "Iraqi WMD programme" and is dated
11 5th September?
12 A. If it had been presented at that meeting, which I cannot
13 recall, then in all likelihood I would have done. But,
14 as I say, the point about that meeting was actually to
15 agree a new process for a new dossier.
16 LORD HUTTON: Yes.
17 MR DINGEMANS: Can I then take you to another document dated
18 5th September? That is CAB/11/17, which was an e-mail
19 from Jonathan Powell to you. We start at the bottom of
20 the page, simply working our way up in chronological
21 sequence. You can see, at about 1.50 -- you had the
22 meeting at 12, what did you decide on dossiers? And
23 there is a first comment that has been redacted. Up the
24 page you say you will come back on the first; that is
25 obviously irrelevant. You say:
1 "Regarding the dossier, substantial rewrite with
3 Who is that?
4 A. John Scarlett.
5 Q. "... and Julian M..."
6 A. Miller.
7 Q. "... in charge, which John Scarlett will take to the US
8 next Friday, and be in shape Monday thereafter.
9 Structure as per TB's discussion."
10 I imagine that is the Prime Minister?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. "Agreement that there has to be real intelligence
13 material in their presentation as such."
14 A. Hmm.
15 Q. If one is talking in terms of a substantial rewrite, it
16 at least suggests you have seen the document or the
17 earlier document we have seen on 5th September.
18 A. I think that is referring to the document you showed me
20 Q. Right.
21 A. But effectively all of these documents are now in the
22 hands of John Scarlett to turn into a new document.
23 Q. Right.
24 A. That is what was agreed on the 5th and the 9th.
25 Q. Because, I mean, one point in relation to the
1 5th September document, the document that you have now
2 got in the hard copy or my copy of the hard copy as it
3 were --
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. -- in that there is no reference to the 45 minute claim?
6 A. I mean, I do not know that. This -- I do not recall
7 this document forming a substantial part of our
9 Q. We then turn to 6th September. There is an e-mail or
10 a note from John Williams, it is CAB/11/19, if I could
11 take you to that.
12 At the bottom we can see John Williams, and to you
13 at the top he says:
14 "I have spoken to Jack and Michael Jay ..."
15 Can you help us?
16 A. Jack is the Foreign Secretary.
17 Q. So Jack Straw?
18 A. And Sir Michael Jay, the media secretary of the Foreign
20 Q. "... about the media friendly editorial job that will
21 need to be done when John Scarlett and his team have
22 produced the dossier. They would both be happy for me
23 to devote whatever time necessary doing so. On the
24 timetable we were discussing yesterday, John's team will
25 produce by the end of the week and I could work on it
1 full time the week after.
2 "I think it would be good for the Foreign Office if
3 we could do it that way."
4 Certainly by 6th September, I am going to take you
5 to your e-mail of 9th, it looks as though no final
6 conclusion had been reached about whether John Williams
7 was going to be fully involved?
8 A. John Williams at some point was obviously going to be
9 involved because he is the senior press person at the
10 Foreign Office. This was something being coordinated
11 across the departments. But part of our discussion was
12 about the writing of the dossier and at one point
13 I offered John Scarlett, a member of my staff, if he
14 wanted it to help him write it. John Williams was
15 volunteering for the job; so was somebody else at the
16 Foreign Office. John Scarlett was absolutely clear the
17 word was "ownership", he wanted ownership of the dossier
18 and the best way to have that was to write it.
19 Q. Can I now bring you on to 9th September. On
20 9th September you may recall the IISS dossier was
22 A. Hmm, hmm.
23 Q. Can I take you to a document at CAB/11/20? This is an
24 e-mail from Philip Bassett to you, amongst others. Can
25 you tell everyone who Philip Bassett is?
1 A. Philip Bassett is a senior special adviser who works for
2 me in Downing Street.
3 Q. And:
4 "Importance: High."
5 "Jim Poston ..."
6 Can you remind us?
7 A. He was the then head of the CIC.
8 Q. "... says there's a [Cabinet Office] meeting at 2 pm
9 today [with] John Williams on the dossier. Should we
10 have someone there, to stay part of the process as it
11 goes along? Any takers?"
12 If we look at CAB/1/266, I hope this shows that you
13 chaired the meeting on this day. Is that right?
14 A. No, what has come up is my evidence to the Foreign
15 Affairs Committee.
16 Q. Your memo to the Foreign Affairs Committee. If you
17 look, it is the second entry down.
18 A. Yes. That is a different meeting.
19 Q. Right.
20 A. That is the meeting with John Scarlett and others that
21 led to the -- my minute of September 9.
22 Q. Right. Which I will come to.
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. So there are two meetings going on this day relating to
25 the dossier. One, John Williams is dealing with at
1 2 o'clock in the Cabinet Office, is that right?
2 A. Well, that would suggest that. I am not aware that
3 I replied to that e-mail.
4 Q. I have not seen a reply to it.
5 A. I do not think I did reply to it.
6 Q. Do you know whether or not the meeting went ahead?
7 A. I do not.
8 Q. Also on 9th September there was another meeting, which
9 was probably the more significant meeting because that
10 is what you refer to the FAC, is that right?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. You were in the chair for the planning meeting for the
13 WMD dossier, is that right?
14 A. That is correct.
15 Q. And can I then take you to your diary entry? Picking it
16 up at about four lines down.
17 A. Hmm, hmm.
18 Q. Who was the meeting with?
19 A. First of all there was a meeting, one on one, myself
20 with John Scarlett.
21 Q. Right. What were you discussing then?
22 A. We were discussing the dossier --
23 Q. Right.
24 A. -- and the process that was going to lead to my minute
25 of September 9th. We were then joined by three very
1 senior SIS officers who had asked to -- for that
2 meeting, and actually used that meeting to indicate that
3 they were very unhappy at two press reports, one in the
4 Financial Times and one in the Daily Telegraph, which
5 suggested that the SIS were unhappy at their involvement
6 in the dossier process.
7 Q. What was the gist of their comments to you about whether
8 they were happy or not?
9 A. That these stories did not remotely reflect their views
10 or the views of the leadership of the agencies, who were
11 perfectly content to cooperate with the Prime Minister
12 on the dossier.
13 Q. And at the meeting, did you agree the process for
14 writing the dossier?
15 A. We did.
16 Q. What was the agreement?
17 A. The agreement was that John Scarlett would be in sole
18 charge of the writing of the dossier and that we, at
19 No. 10, would give him whatever support he asked for.
20 LORD HUTTON: Just going back to this meeting with the three
21 senior SIS officers, did you receive any indication that
22 there might have been unhappiness in the lower ranks of
23 the intelligence agencies about the writing of the
24 dossier, about what would be in it?
25 A. Not at that stage.
1 LORD HUTTON: Yes.
2 MR DINGEMANS: You say "not at that stage". I will come to
3 it later but as you have opened that issue up, did you
4 become aware of unhappiness within lower ranks in the
5 intelligence agency?
6 A. Well, only through what I was reading in the newspapers,
7 which was obviously causing us and indeed the leadership
8 of the agencies some concern; and at a later point,
9 which I think I recorded in my diary, John Scarlett
10 again coming to see me to assure us this was not the
11 view of the agencies. And the leadership of the
12 agencies said to me: there may well be people down the
13 ranks who are not happy with this but you have to know
14 that it is not the view of the agencies at the top.
15 Q. Right. We will come back to that, if I may. On
16 9th September, following that meeting that you have just
17 outlined to us, you produced a document. Can I take you
18 to CAB/6/2?
19 A. Hmm, hmm.
20 Q. And who is this from and to?
21 A. It is from me to John Scarlett.
22 Q. Right. And we can see, from the top right-hand corner
23 it is copied into a number of different people,
24 including some people who have been redacted.
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. I mean, perhaps you can just explain what you say is the
2 central thrust of this memorandum?
3 A. The purpose of the memorandum is to ensure that
4 everybody on that copy list, which basically means
5 anybody of significance to this process in all of the
6 relevant Government departments and all of the agencies,
7 understands that this is a new project and that it is
8 being led and directed by John Scarlett, and the JIC.
9 And I make the point that the work -- that its
10 credibility depends fundamentally upon that. It also
11 makes the point that it is a new dossier, and I say:
12 "Therefore, the rush of comments on the old dossier
13 are not necessary or totally relevant. People should
14 wait for the new one, which will be more detailed and
16 It then explains the structure that we had agreed
17 for the document. It then goes through -- can I read
18 this paragraph?
19 Q. Yes, of course, the important points you want to extract
20 from this document.
21 A. It says:
22 "The media/political judgment will inevitably focus
23 on 'what's new?' and I was pleased to hear from you and
24 your SIS colleagues that, contrary to media reports
25 today, the intelligence community are taking such a
1 helpful approach to this in going through all the
2 material they have. It goes without saying there should
3 be nothing published that you and they are not
4 100 per cent happy with."
5 I then explain nobody should be talking to the press
6 about this.
7 "Partial leaks, or running commentaries on an out of
8 date document help nobody.
9 "Our public line is that the dossier will set out
10 the facts which make HMG judge Iraq/WMD to represent a
11 real threat. It will be detailed and comprehensive. As
12 to why we can't publish it now, it has to be cleared by
13 all those who have helped to build the case. This
14 involves important judgments, and we will take our
16 Q. I think, at the bottom of the page, you say:
17 "In the meantime ...", you deal with how the process
18 is going to work. Perhaps you can help us with this.
19 A. This is in --
20 "We agreed that by the end of today, you should have
21 most of the draft material together, with the Agencies
22 providing the sections relevant to the middle part of
23 your structure, and the FCO providing the more
24 historical material."
25 Q. At the bottom of the page you identify you were going to
1 chair a team. What was the purpose of that team?
2 A. What I said was I would chair a team to go through the
3 document from a presentational point of view and to make
4 recommendations to John Scarlett. It was at that point
5 that we were discussing and I offered the use of
6 a single full time writer to help him; and
7 John Scarlett, at that point -- then or that day --
8 certainly said to me that he wanted "ownership" and the
9 best way to have that was for him to write it, for him
10 and his team to write it.
11 Q. Right. Now, in relation to that meeting, which I think
12 you have said to his Lordship was not a meeting of the
13 Iraq Communications Group, you were in the chair of that
14 meeting, is that right?
15 A. That is correct.
16 Q. And the subsequent round table meetings, did you have
17 any further round table meetings with John Scarlett?
18 A. I had a number of meetings with John Scarlett; and
19 I will certainly have had meetings at which both John
20 and I attended. These were the two, as it were, formal
21 meetings at which -- which is why I wrote out a minute
22 from them.
23 Q. Following the second meeting?
24 A. Following the second meeting, yes.
25 Q. You are in the chair and John Scarlett's position was --
1 I mean, was he effectively an equal to you at that
3 A. Absolutely.
4 Q. Can I then take you to the 10th September? We have now
5 dealt with 9th September and your memorandum in relation
6 to that. Then, on the 10th September, at 12.25, we can
7 see, at CAB 11/21, an e-mail from Daniel Pruce to
8 Mark Matthews. Perhaps you can just help us, first of
9 all, with the people involved in this. Who is
10 Daniel Pruce?
11 A. He is a Foreign Office press officer based in
12 Downing Street.
13 Q. And Mark Matthews?
14 A. He is a press officer in the Foreign Office.
15 Q. And Matthew Ryecroft?
16 A. He is a member of David Manning's team.
17 Q. Paul Hammill?
18 A. The Coalition Information Centre.
19 Q. And Godric Smith?
20 A. Prime Minister's spokesmen.
21 Q. You have obviously introduced yourself. We can see
22 a series of comments Daniel Pruce makes on "John's draft
23 of 9th September". Do you know what that was
24 a reference to? Was that a reference to John Williams's
25 document I showed you?
1 A. I do not know. I do know that I did not reply to this
2 or the e-mail exchanges that it generated; and I think
3 this is part of the office chatter that I referred to in
4 my note, to say comments on out of date documents are
5 irrelevant, people should wait for the new one.
6 LORD HUTTON: Well, who was the John there that is referred
7 to in that first line?
8 A. I do not know, my Lord. I do not know if that is
9 Williams or Scarlett. It could be -- I mean, that --
10 I am just reading through now to see. (Pause). That
11 looks like John Scarlett, I think.
12 MR DINGEMANS: You see, what we have, and I have been
13 through this process a number of times, is we have
14 a dossier on 20th June.
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. I think I have shown you that. Then we have one on
17 5th September. Then we go to the 10th/11th September.
18 We have not been given a copy of a dossier on
19 9th September. Do you recall whether or not at
20 9th September there was a dossier?
21 A. No, there was not. The first draft of the John Scarlett
22 dossier -- I beg your pardon, it is 9th September. It
23 was 10th September. I beg your pardon. That cannot
24 have been John Scarlett's then. This must have been
25 referring to something else that went to that meeting.
1 Q. You see, it talks as if it is referring to a dossier.
2 "On content.
3 "In general I think we should personalise the
4 dossier ..."
5 If you are talking about a draft of another
6 document, it is a slightly unusual comment to make.
7 A. All I know is the draft of the dossier that came to me
8 from John Scarlett came to me on September 10th.
9 Q. Continuing the next comment:
10 "The personal witness statements are very powerful.
11 Are there more we can use to illustrate Saddam's
12 repression ...
13 "We make a number of statements about Saddam's
14 intentions/attitudes. Can we insert a few quotes from
15 speeches ...
16 "In the public's mind the key difference between
17 this text and the IISS text will be the access to
18 intelligence material."
19 It rather looks, is this a fair comment, that he is
20 referring to a draft of the dossier?
21 A. It does. I accept that. But I cannot explain the date
22 on the e-mail, given that I did not receive
23 John Scarlett's draft until September 10th, unless that
24 is -- I am sorry to be -- I am sorry to be -- not to be
25 clear on this. He calls it "John's draft of
1 9th September" but his e-mail is dated September 10th.
2 Q. Yes.
3 A. So it could be he is commenting on that. But the point
4 I made earlier is that there are -- this is
5 reflecting -- the only people in Downing Street
6 authorised by the Prime Minister to deal with
7 John Scarlett on this were myself, Jonathan Powell and
8 David Manning, no-one else. I do not recall responding
9 to this e-mail at all.
10 Q. Unless he is referring to the draft which we have of
11 5th September; I think I have shown you that briefly, in
12 fact you have my hard copy of it.
13 A. Do you want it back?
14 Q. Do not worry, I can live without it.
15 As far as 5th September, unless he is referring to
16 what was written in 5th September, and it is only in
17 manuscript we have that, unless that was the dossier he
18 was referring to?
19 A. I just do not know, I am afraid. I am sorry.
20 Q. Can I take you to CAB/11/22. A possible explanation, as
21 you rightly pointed out, was he just got the date wrong,
22 as it were.
23 A. Hmm, hmm.
24 Q. You see this is an e-mail from Felicity Hatfield. Can
25 you explain to everyone who she is?
1 A. She is one of my secretaries.
2 Q. To Alison Blackshaw; who is she?
3 A. She is my personal assistant.
4 Q. It is subject "John Scarlett's office 'telephone call'".
5 It rather suggests there is a telephone call. You will
6 see it says this:
7 "A draft dossier will be ready at 1800 hours.
8 They'll send one over."
9 We do not need to know how it got over. That rather
10 suggests the 10th September dossier was not produced
11 until 1800 hours.
12 A. It does.
13 Q. Which, if one goes back, suggests the comments you are
14 being copied into are on an earlier dossier.
15 A. I accept that. But I do not know what that is
16 commenting on.
17 Q. Because the earlier dossiers, certainly the ones we have
18 seen to this point, do not at this stage have the
19 45 minute point in.
20 A. That is correct.
21 Q. Can I then take you, very briefly, to your diary entry
22 for 10th September. I think you make a note about
23 receiving the dossier. Can you just tell us what
25 A. It simply records I received the dossier and I read it
1 at home.
2 Q. Right. And that dossier, can I take you to DOS/2/2?
3 Now, this is a dossier that has 10th/11th September 2002
4 in the top right-hand corner.
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Again, we do not know whose writing that is. I think
7 someone suggested it might be Mr Scarlett's, so I will
8 ask him about that.
9 A. The date?
10 Q. Yes.
11 A. I do not know.
12 Q. You do not know. It has a foreword in it, at the
13 moment. And it also has, if we turn to -- this includes
14 the 45-minute point in the dossier.
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. I think that accords with your recollection, which was
17 the dossier you saw on 10th September had the 45 minute
18 point in it?
19 A. Correct.
20 Q. Do you know where that had come from?
21 A. I did not, no.
22 Q. If we go to DOS/2/7, to support your recollection down
23 we have:
24 "Envisages the use of weapons of mass destruction in
25 its current military planning, and could deploy such
1 weapons within 45 minutes of the order being given for
2 their use."
3 A. Hmm, hmm.
4 LORD HUTTON: When you say you do not know where that came
5 from, can you elaborate on that a little? You did not
6 know where the entry of 45 minutes had come from in the
7 sense you did not know what it was based on?
8 A. I knew it had come from the JIC but I was not aware
9 either of the raw intelligence on which it was based or
10 of the sourcing. What is more, I did not make any
11 effort to find out.
12 LORD HUTTON: No.
13 MR DINGEMANS: Can I just then, at the moment, come back to
14 the issue about dissatisfaction of members of the
15 intelligence staff about some of the comments being
16 made --
17 A. Hmm, hmm.
18 Q. -- and take you to an e-mail at CAB/3/21 specific about
19 Dr Kelly. We have been given a redacted version. This
20 is 10th September, 11.41.
21 A. Hmm, hmm.
22 Q. You can see the subject is "Dossier -- Iraq". Given the
23 timing, at 11.41, that rather suggests he is not
24 commenting on the 10th/11th September dossier because
25 that is not published until 6 o'clock, as far as we can
2 A. Hmm, hmm.
3 Q. The person who sends it says this:
4 "I have just spoken to Dr David Kelly ... about the
5 growth media amount page 8 top para line 2. It states
6 UN inspectors could not account for up to 20 tonnes ...
7 In fact 2.456 tonnes was missing. UNSCOM could not
8 account for a further 15.457 tonnes which Iraq claimed
9 it used in BW work. But Iraq has not revealed its
10 production documents therefore this amount is
11 unaccounted for. The existing wording is not wrong --
12 but it has...", and the person, Mr Lamb, suggested it
13 was just a typo for "a lot of spin on it".
14 A. Hmm, hmm.
15 Q. Were you aware of comments of this nature being made at
16 the time amongst Defence Intelligence personnel?
17 A. No. And that is the first time I have seen that e-mail.
18 Q. And the only other document, can I take you to MoD/4/9,
19 which was a document which is dated in July 2003, and it
20 is for a briefing, but this relates to concerns that
21 were expressed contemporaneously. You can see that
22 concerns were expressed into three main groups: recent
23 production of agent; the 45 minute claim; and Saddam and
24 the importance of CBW.
25 A. Hmm, hmm.
1 Q. One can see in relation to the 45 minutes claim, if
2 I can just deal with that --
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. -- that concerns had apparently related to the level of
5 certainty expressed in the foreword and executive
7 "By this stage in the drafting process, following
8 consultation with the DIS, the main text said
9 'intelligence indicates that the Iraqi military are able
10 to deploy chemical or biological weapons within
11 45 minutes of an order to do so'. This reflected the
12 language in the 9 September JIC paper."
13 Which supports your suggestion of where it has come
15 A. Hmm, hmm.
16 Q. "The executive summary expressed the point differently,
17 as a judgment. The personnel concerned did not share
18 this judgment. But it was agreed by the JIC."
19 A. Hmm, hmm.
20 Q. That, at the least, indicates there were some people who
21 were unhappy with some of the wording that was going on;
22 you were not aware of that?
23 A. I was not aware of that.
24 Q. Finally, on this subject, can I take you to MoD/4/11,
25 which was a letter of 8th July 2003 written to
1 Mr Howard.
2 A. Hmm, hmm.
3 Q. And it is from a former intelligence officer who is
4 writing, having read the Foreign Affairs Committee
5 report --
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. -- wondering whether he had obligations in relation to
8 putting the record straight, as he saw it. But what he
9 says in the second paragraph is this:
10 "Your records will show that as [he gives the
11 pneumonics to describe what he was doing] and probably
12 the most senior and experienced intelligence community
13 official working on 'WMD', I was so concerned about the
14 manner in which intelligence assessments for which I had
15 some responsibility were being presented in the dossier
16 of 24 September 2002, that I was moved to write formally
17 to your predecessor, Tony Cragg, recording and
18 explaining my reservations."
19 We have not seen the formal letter beforehand. We
20 now do not need to because that shows something had been
21 written before. Were you aware of this sort of level of
23 A. No.
24 Q. All right. Can I then take you to your diary on
25 11th September. This dossier that we have is published
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. I think it shows that you have had a meeting with
4 John Scarlett. Is there anything you want to tell us
5 about that? It appears to suggest you had a long chat
6 with him.
7 A. I said, "The drier the better, cut the rhetoric".
8 Q. That is referring to the dossier?
9 A. That is referring -- and I think I referred to this in
10 my evidence to the Foreign Affairs Committee. I think
11 there were areas where the language was too colourful.
12 And I also said the more intelligence-based it was, the
13 better. Need to separate IISS from what was new in
14 this. In other words, we needed to have a clear
15 explanation of where the material information in this
16 dossier took things forward from what was in the IISS
17 report and then gave some suggestions later re the
18 different structure. That was how the -- in what was
19 now quite a fast-moving drafting process towards
20 publication, how Julian Miller and his team were going
21 to structure the document according to the structure
22 that had been agreed on 5th and 9th September, and
23 I then had a meeting about that.
24 Q. Right.
25 A. It is at that stage, I think, that I first showed that
1 draft to the Prime Minister.
2 Q. Right, around 11th September?
3 A. 11th September, late in the day.
4 Q. Can I take you some e-mails making the rounds on
5 11th September, CAB/11/23. This is from Philip Bassett,
6 you told us he was the press officer --
7 A. He is a special adviser in Downing Street.
8 Q. He is replying, at 327, to Godric Smith at 12.35. If
9 you go down to the bottom, at 10.04 there is Daniel's
10 Pruce's e-mail, it is to you and copied to others. It
11 is subject:
12 "Draft Dossier (J Scarlett version of
13 10th September)."
14 Daniel Pruce is?
15 A. He is a Foreign Office press officer based in
16 Downing Street.
17 Q. He said:
18 "It is getting there, but needs more work. My
19 initial thoughts on this latest draft."
20 He talks about ownership, which I think was a point
21 you made.
22 A. I think that is a separate point. That was the point
23 who should sign the foreword. John Scarlett's point
24 about ownership was he had to own the whole document.
25 Q. And:
1 "The foreword is good but whose voice is it? Do we
2 need a Minister to sign it off?"
3 That is what starts the process running, I suppose,
4 until the Prime Minister --
5 A. It is not actually. Danny Pruce is a very, very good
6 press officer, but this is him making contributions
7 effectively above his pay grade. The foreword process
8 was already under discussion between myself, the
9 Prime Minister and John Scarlett. I think all these
10 e-mails actually are from people who are meaning
11 perfectly well, but actually are not terribly closely
12 involved in the process.
13 Q. If we continue to page 24, his e-mail, your comments
14 would be the same; he says:
16 "Our aim should also be to convey the impression
17 that things have not been static in Iraq but that over
18 the past decade he has been aggressively and
19 relentlessly pursuing WMD while brutally repressing his
20 own people. Again the dossier gets close to this -- but
21 I think some drafting changes could bring this out
23 A. It is a perfectly fair point but I think it is one that
24 we would have had already.
25 Q. Right. And if we go back to 23, going up the page,
1 because of the way the e-mails work. Godric Smith,
2 I think you have told us he is the Prime Minister's
3 official spokesman?
4 A. That is right.
5 Q. "I think there is material here we can work with but it
6 is a bit of a muddle and needs a lot more clarity in the
7 guts of it in terms of what is new/old. In each area we
8 need to distinguish between the two and better source
9 (as much as we can) to intelligence. It needs to be
10 more factual if anything, less assertion based, with the
11 rhetoric stripped out ..."
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Then Philip Bassett's comments, he agreed with Godric.
14 Is this right, it is starting off lower down with
15 Daniel Pruce and getting more in accordance with pay
16 grades as we work our way up?
17 A. I think the top pay grade is in the middle. And
18 actually -- Godric's point I think -- if I took any of
19 them on-board, it would have been that one. But the
20 reality is I receive an awful lot of e-mails that I do
21 not read, because they are sifted for me and at this --
22 by this time, in terms of the people who were centrally
23 involved in this process, it was myself in No. 10 with
24 Jonathan Powell and David Manning being kept informed,
25 and it was John Scarlett in the JIC.
1 Q. Right. Just CAB/11/25 to give you the opportunity to
2 comment on this e-mail. We can see at the bottom of the
3 page, the e-mail that we have looked at before,
4 11th September.
5 A. Hmm, hmm.
6 Q. But there appears to be an earlier comment. This seems
7 to be from Philip Bassett to Daniel Bruce.
8 A. Hmm, hmm.
9 Q. And the comment is this:
10 "Very long way to go, I think. Think we're in a lot
11 of trouble with this as it stands now."
12 Did you see any of these e-mails? It appears to
13 have been sent to Daniel Pruce and yourself.
14 A. I do not recall seeing it. Again, it falls in the same
15 category as the others that I have just mentioned.
16 Q. Right. And then I think, at this stage, the Foreign
17 Secretary made some comments. If we go to CAB/11/34,
18 one can see also on 17th September this is an e-mail
19 from Mark Sedwill; can you help me who he is?
20 A. He was, at that time, the Foreign Secretary's private
22 Q. This is to Charles Gray.
23 A. A colleague in the Foreign Office.
24 Q. You are copied in, we can see that from the list further
1 A. Hmm, hmm.
2 Q. The e-mail says:
4 "The Foreign Secretary has now had a chance to go
5 through the draft dossier and he has endorsed the
6 comments I made earlier on it (see below) and has the
7 following additional points."
8 He makes a series of points on the draft dossier.
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. If there is anything you want me to highlight in that,
11 just identify it for me. This is a reasonable summary,
12 just makes points about the foreword:
13 "Should be in narrative form by the Prime Minister.
14 "Executive summary, very good."
15 Then some specific points on sections 1 and sections
17 A. Yes. I think that is the type of e-mail that would
18 certainly have been drawn to my attention, and I do
19 recall seeing it.
20 Q. Right. Turning then to 12th September. At CAB/11/35
21 you get an e-mail from Godric Smith, who you have told
22 us is the Prime Minister's official spokesman on the
23 dossier. He says this:
24 "Julian Miller rang me and said that he would like
25 to come and show someone the latest thinking on the
1 dossier tomorrow without getting into circulating copies
2 just so as they are on the right track. [Something
3 blanked out] I said I thought it was best in the
4 [circumstances] if he spoke to you if you were around
5 tomorrow and were up for it. It is more presentational
6 than content driven. Can Alison let him know if you are
7 on for that..."
8 Does that reflect the sort of contribution you were
9 having to the dossier at this stage?
10 A. It does. I was speaking regularly and meeting regularly
11 John Scarlett and Julian Miller; and I think in my diary
12 records the next day I had a meeting with Julian Miller.
13 Q. Right. In fact, on 12th September, can I ask you,
14 looking at your diary, was there anything you learnt
15 about new sources?
16 A. The 12th -- I beg your pardon.
17 Q. Yes.
18 A. Yes. There was a meeting I attended.
19 Q. Who was at the meeting?
20 A. The meeting was with the Prime Minister,
21 Jonathan Powell, David Manning, myself, the head of the
22 SIS and a senior SIS officer.
23 Q. Yes.
24 A. The last of these explain that there had been a new
25 source in recent weeks who had given them new
1 information. We were being told this because the
2 information was important, but also it was being
3 emphasised this was information that could not go into
4 the dossier.
5 Q. So this was not the 45 minute point?
6 A. No, it was not. This was other information.
7 Q. Too important to be put in the published dossier, as it
9 A. Yes.
10 LORD HUTTON: Why could it not be put into the dossier?
11 A. From memory, my Lord, it was --
12 LORD HUTTON: Would you like to look at your diary entry --
13 A. It was for reasons of source protection.
14 LORD HUTTON: Yes. Right.
15 A. And what C, the head of SIS said, was there was some
16 material in there which could be used through what he
17 called "through assertion", in other words not
18 necessarily specifically linked to indicate it as
19 intelligence, but that was not the 45 minutes point.
20 MR DINGEMANS: No.
21 A. Then I made the observation, at the end of that, that it
22 was the sort of thing that would be good to put into the
23 dossier but we were not in a position to do so.
24 Q. Turning then to 13th September, I think you tell us you
25 had a meeting with Julian Miller. Your diary may help
1 with that. What was the gist of that meeting?
2 A. That was to see how Julian's team were progressing in
3 terms of putting this document together according to the
4 structure that had been agreed on the 5th and the 9th.
5 And he was simply showing me where the various parts
6 were being put together and showing me how far he had
7 got in that process.
8 Q. Right. Did you have any particular concerns that you
9 recorded about the dossier?
10 A. I was concerned, at that stage, that in too many parts
11 of it we were relying too much on assertion.
12 Q. What do you mean by that?
13 A. What I mean by that is that it -- without necessarily
14 the explanation to underpin a claim that is being made.
15 Q. Right. Turning then on to 16th September. Can I take
16 you to CAB/11/38? This is from Felicity Hatfield.
17 I think you explained she was one of your secretaries?
18 A. Hmm, hmm.
19 Q. To Alison Blackshaw, and I think you explained she was
20 your personal assistant, is that right?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. It has:
23 "Subject: Draft" and then it has a Word document
24 which has "ACTB foreword DO". Was that your e-mail of
25 the draft dossier foreword for the Prime Minister, as it
2 A. I presume it must have been.
3 Q. Can I take you on to CAB/11/39, this may help:
4 "Dossier foreword by TB."
5 A. Hmm, hmm.
6 Q. And who had, in fact, drafted that aspect of it?
7 A. I prepared a draft based upon a discussion with the
8 Prime Minister, and with others, about what should go
9 into that draft.
10 Q. Right. Can I take you to an answer you had given to the
11 Intelligence and Security Committee at ISC/1/46? It is
12 the second and third parts of it. Michael Mates MP has
13 asked this:
14 "I'm absolutely certain from what John Scarlett and
15 other have said that you didn't interfere in any way
16 with this [he is talking about the dossier] and I hope
17 the committee will say so in terms, as far as the body
18 of it is concerned. What about the foreword, did you
19 draft that?"
20 You say this:
21 "The foreword, again the process is that it would
22 normally be that there would be I, Jonathan Powell,
23 others would have ideas and we'd probably have
24 a discussion with the Prime Minister, on that one the
25 Prime Minister was very 'hands on' in terms of what was
1 produced and what was sent over to John Scarlett.
2 "Michael Mates: But you played a part in that?
4 What the documents appear to show is you say you had
5 a discussion with the Prime Minister about the foreword?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And you have then produced the draft foreword and then
8 e-mailed it on?
9 A. I think the process was I had a meeting with the
10 Prime Minister who -- and this tends to be if I am
11 writing something as a draft for the Prime Minister how
12 we would do it, where he will express his thoughts as to
13 what it should say and how it would say it. I, based
14 upon that, will go and draft something. I do not recall
15 doing this, but I will probably have shown it to
16 David Manning and to Jonathan Powell. I certainly
17 showed a draft to John Scarlett. I think what happened
18 was then I showed it to the Prime Minister, he had some
19 thoughts and comments. I think there was another
20 version. Then John Scarlett made some detailed comments
21 and they were all incorporated then it was signed off.
22 Q. That is 16th September. If we go to DOS/2/58, we have
23 here the draft dossier of 16th September. Now, just to
24 keep the chronology, we have seen something on
25 20th June, 5th September, then 10th to 11th September,
1 although it looks like you sent it on the 10th?
2 A. 10th.
3 Q. And then this is 16th September. And this dossier does
4 not, at this stage, include the foreword. If we go to
5 page 59, you can see "Contents: Executive Summary".
6 DOS/2/59. Sorry about that.
7 A. Okay.
8 Q. We can see there "Contents: Executive Summary".
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Et cetera. But what we are missing is the foreword?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Which we have just tracked on the e-mail. Did you see
13 this document?
14 A. This is a more up-to-date draft of the dossier?
15 Q. Yes.
16 A. I will certainly have seen that, I am sure.
17 Q. Can I take you to DOS/2/72.
18 We can see here "Recent intelligence":
19 "Intelligence has become available from reliable
20 sources complimenting various aspects. Confirmation
21 that chemical and biological weapons play an important
22 part in Iraqi military thinking."
23 A. Hmm, hmm.
24 Q. "Iraqi attempts to retain banned weapons systems and his
25 willingness to use."
1 The reference to 45 minutes is the:
2 "Iraqi military may be able to deploy chemical or
3 biological weapons within 45 minutes of an order to do
5 A. Hmm, hmm.
6 Q. Which appears to be a slightly weaker assessment in
7 terms of words. It still includes the 45 minutes. It
8 has still come from the Intelligence Services, but the
9 wording is slightly weaker than that which we saw on
10 10th September. First of all, do you agree with that,
11 that the wording is slightly --
12 A. Can you remind me what the 10th September was.
13 Q. I can take you back to that aspect, if you like, which
14 was at DOS/2/7.
15 A. "Could", "could deploy", yes.
16 Q. You remember I showed you the bullet point?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. It looks, on one view, slightly stronger than you see it
19 on 16th September?
20 A. Hmm, hmm.
21 Q. Were you party to any of these discussions which had led
22 to a sort of slight reduction in the prominence of the
23 45 minute claim?
24 A. No.
25 Q. Right.
1 A. I was involved in -- as I think I quote in my witness
2 statement -- pointing out a slight inconsistency in the
3 way that was expressed. I do not know if that refers to
4 those two parts, but that is -- that is referred to in
5 my witness statement.
6 LORD HUTTON: Was that an inconsistency within a dossier
7 itself or an inconsistency between two dossiers?
8 A. No. The point I made to John Scarlett was that
9 I thought that one could be in -- one was expressed
10 slightly differently to the other.
11 LORD HUTTON: Was that within the same dossier?
12 A. Within the same dossier.
13 LORD HUTTON: Yes.
14 A. And John Scarlett undertook to check that against the
15 raw intelligence and he duly did; and I could not --
16 I had no part in what he actually wrote ultimately, but
17 I pointed out that inconsistency.
18 MR DINGEMANS: Right. Can I take you to your diary entry
19 for 16th September, which -- does that help you
20 recollect whether you had any further discussions this
21 day about the dossier?
22 A. Simply that that -- we had a discussion there, which
23 clearly we were discussing the fact that the Americans
24 were thinking of doing their own version of this.
25 Q. Yes.
1 A. That was obviously going to have potential implications
2 for the one that we were doing.
3 Q. Right. And who was the discussion with?
4 A. John Scarlett.
5 Q. Can I take you to BBC/4/69 which is an extract from the
6 lobby briefing for 16th September. If we go down
7 halfway, "Iraq dossier" and the Prime Minister's
8 official spokesman is:
9 "Asked whether the timing of publication of the
10 dossier, on the very morning of that Parliament resumed,
11 was deliberate in order to do everything on one day, or
12 whether it was because the dossier would not be ready
13 before then, the PMOS said that the publication had been
14 moved onto a faster track than originally intended and
15 that had caused some difficulties. The intention was,
16 as Jack Straw had said yesterday, to give people as good
17 an insight as possible without compromising
18 intelligence. It was expected to take up until the
19 morning of 24th September to get the dossier ready."
20 Then he was asked about, you know, publication
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. So, at that stage, the actual date for publication has
24 become known?
25 A. That would appear so.
1 Q. Did that lead to a lot of -- we have seen what are said
2 to have been comments made by Dr Kelly to journalists at
3 the time. One of the comments was that there was a bit
4 of a rush in the last couple of weeks. Do you recall,
5 from your own experience, whether that was right or not?
6 A. No, I think the -- I have been involved in an awful lot
7 of Prime Ministerial events and documents and
8 publications and there is always, in the final stage
9 towards publication, lots of last minute discussions and
10 details to be addressed, but I would say that of all of
11 the things that I have been involved with the attention
12 to detail that was paid in this one was absolutely
14 Q. Right. Then, can I take you back to CAB/1/266. Just so
15 that you are orientated, this is your memorandum to the
16 Foreign Affairs Committee?
17 A. Hmm, hmm.
18 Q. You give evidence, I think, on 25th June. Going down to
19 the bottom of the page, the penultimate paragraph:
20 "On 17th September he [you are talking about the JIC
21 chairman we know to be John Scarlett] sent me a further
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. So it looks like the draft of 16th September you get the
25 day after?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. We know the draft of 10th September you got at about
3 1800 that evening?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And you read it overnight. Can I take you to CAB/11/52?
6 This is another e-mail from Daniel Pruce to Tom Kelly,
7 but also you, and he copies in Tom Kelly,
8 Alastair Campbell, Godric Smith and Tanya Joseph. Tanya
9 Joseph, I am not sure we have had that name before.
10 A. She was a press officer who worked in Downing Street
11 then. Since then she has moved to the private sector.
12 Q. Daniel Pruce is a press officer as well?
13 A. He is the Foreign Office press officer based in No. 10.
14 Q. He says:
15 "I attended a further Cabinet Office read through
16 this morning. They have:
17 "re-ordered the text, with the new intelligence
18 nearer the front...
19 "added a short chapter on JIC and intelligence.
20 Good but could give more details.
21 "kept in the longer nuclear timelines... We need to
22 think carefully about how these will appear to compare
23 with the IISS figure of a weapon within a few months."
24 I think the IISS figure was in fact slightly harder,
25 is that right?
1 A. The IISS took a stronger view in terms of Saddam's
2 nuclear capability than John Scarlett's document did.
3 Q. We have heard it before, but that is the International
4 Institute of Strategic Studies which is independent of
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. "Added a short conclusions table...
8 "The re-organised material paints a more convincing
9 cumulative picture, but the facts remain thin on
11 "Julian Miller will take a further round of comments
12 this afternoon..."
13 A. Hmm, hmm.
14 Q. And CAB/11/53. This is Jonathan Powell's e-mail to you.
15 I imagine his comments were comments that you took
16 seriously, is that right?
17 A. I had certainly read them.
18 Q. And he says --
19 A. Sorry, that was no offence intended there.
20 Q. "I think it is worth explicitly stating what TB keeps
21 saying, this is the advice to him from the JIC. On the
22 basis of this advice what other action could he as PM
24 He goes on to deal with this:
25 "We need to do more to back up the assertions."
1 He suggests some wording.
3 "In the penultimate paragraph you need to make it
4 clear Saddam could not attack us at the moment. The
5 thesis is he would be a threat to the UK in the future
6 if we do not check him."
7 A. Yes. I think all those points were taken on-board.
8 Q. That is 17th September. At page 69 --
9 A. Of the dossier?
10 Q. Sorry, CAB/11/69. On the same day, but later on, he
11 appears to have made some comments to John Scarlett, but
12 he has copied you into those. Here the tone of his
13 e-mail seems to be slightly different to the effect that
14 the document does nothing to demonstrate a threat. I am
15 third line down:
16 "Let alone an imminent threat from Saddam in other
17 words it shows he has the means but it does not
18 demonstrate he has the motive to attack his neighbours
19 let alone the west. We will need to make it clear in
20 launching the document that we do not claim that we have
21 evidence that he is an imminent threat. The case we are
22 making is that he has continued to develop WMD since
23 1998, and is in breach of UN resolutions... Second we
24 will be asked about the connections with Al-Qaida.
25 "Third, if I was Saddam ... I would take someone to
1 a factory."
2 A. Hmm, hmm.
3 Q. We know that those comments are made to John Scarlett.
4 Do you know, from any discussions you had with
5 John Scarlett, whether those were taken up with --
6 whether he accepted any of those, et cetera?
7 A. I think that -- I think what Jonathan is doing there is
8 making an observation which is actually consistent with
9 what John Scarlett had been doing. I mean, this dossier
10 is sometimes described as the Prime Minister "making the
11 case for war". What it was actually doing was setting
12 out in as factual a way as possible the reason why the
13 Government was concerned about Saddam's WMD programmes.
14 The point about -- we talked about this an awful lot, at
15 the time, and we always sought to describe it as
16 a serious and credible threat. That was based upon the
17 intelligence that the Prime Minister had.
18 Q. Can I then take you to a document, CAB/11/70 which is
19 a memorandum, if we go to page 71 at the bottom, you can
20 see is from John Scarlett.
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And going back to the top of page 70, thanks you for
23 a minute of 17th September:
24 "... suggested that Chapter 3 should be re-ordered.
25 We have looked at this, but found that the restructured
1 text has less impact than the original. Nonetheless, I
2 attach for you only a version amended along the lines
4 It talks about nuclear timings and the civil nuclear
6 Then detailed points at paragraph 6:
7 "... strengthened language on current concerns and
8 plans, including in the executive summary. The summary
9 also brings out the point on sanctions and containment,
10 as you proposed."
11 A. Hmm, hmm.
12 Q. This was in response to a minute that you had prepared?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Effectively the gist of what he appears to be doing is
15 taking on some comments about strengthening the language
16 on current concerns and plans, is that right?
17 A. I think it showed he took on some of my comments and
18 none of the Prime Minister's on the structure. The
19 structure stayed the same and some of the detailed
20 points he took.
21 Q. And then, over the page, at 71, you can see a comment
22 that I think you said ought to have been dropped.
23 Perhaps you can just explain that at item 6?
24 A. I think this is in relation to the Human Rights section.
25 It used the adjectives "vivid" and "horrifying" which
1 I thought was unnecessary, given that the facts really
2 were speaking for themselves.
3 Q. If we go to item 9, it is clear that either you or the
4 Prime Minister has suggested some improvement on the
5 word "might" on the old page 16.
6 A. I do not know what it refers to. I said on page 16,
7 bottom line, "Might reads very weakly".
8 Q. He has come back and what has he effectively done?
9 A. He said, "We cannot improve on the use of 'might' on the
10 old page 16".
11 Q. So he has effectively rejected that suggestion?
12 A. Yes. Also can I just say I am not actually making
13 a suggestion there; I am making an observation. I am
14 not suggesting he changes anything there.
15 Q. Right. Is that a reflection of what was being discussed
16 at the time?
17 A. By now we are into the very final drafting points.
18 Q. Right: can I take you to --
19 LORD HUTTON: I think this would now be a convenient time to
20 give the stenographers a break.
21 (11.45 am)
22 (Short Break)
23 (11.50 am)
24 LORD HUTTON: Yes, Mr Dingemans.
25 MR DINGEMANS: Mr Campbell, I was taking you to the memo
1 from Mr Scarlett, replying to yours. I should take you
2 to your memo, which is CAB/11/66, where you suggest
3 a number of drafting points.
4 A. Hmm, hmm.
5 Q. I think if we go through that very briefly, 66, 67. For
6 example, if we look at item 6:
7 "'Vivid and horrifying' re human rights ..."
8 I think that supports your recollection you have
9 given before.
10 On paragraph 9:
11 "... bottom line 'might' reads very weakly."
12 Et cetera.
13 Those were the sort of comments you were offering,
14 as it were?
15 A. That is correct.
16 Q. That is that memo. Can I turn back to CAB/11/69, with
17 Mr Powell's comments. What he says is:
18 "We will need to make it clear in launching the
19 document that we do not claim that we have evidence that
20 he is an imminent threat."
21 And talks about that aspect of it.
22 Is there any part of the dossier that actually makes
23 that explicitly clear?
24 A. I do not recall the -- and I do not know whether that
25 e-mail led to John Scarlett rewriting anything at all.
1 But I know that what we always said was: a serious and
2 credible threat to the region and therefore the
3 stability of the world.
4 Q. Can I take you to CAB/11/73, which is John Scarlett's
5 memo saying:
6 "I have suggested a few changes to the draft. For
7 me the key points are references to the JIC and use of
9 He is sending that to you.
10 I mean, I had understood you to be saying you were
11 making the suggestions to him, not him, as it were,
12 making the suggestions to you.
13 A. You can ask Mr Scarlett this; I think he is saying he
14 has made, as it were -- suggesting changes to the JIC,
15 I do not think he is talking about making suggestions to
16 me to make.
17 Q. Right. But he says:
18 "I have suggested a few changes to the draft."
19 That --
20 A. The foreword, I beg your pardon, this is about the
22 Q. This is the foreword, is it?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. These are the suggestions he is making because the
25 foreword is the Prime Minister's?
1 A. I beg your pardon, John Scarlett made a number of
2 suggestions about the foreword, all of which were
4 Q. He says this:
5 "I am now seeking views of JIC colleagues on this
6 amended text and will revert as soon as possible."
7 Can I then take you to a document, CAB/3/79, which
8 was a document that, I think, Mr Miller produced for us.
9 What this will show, I hope, is a letter dated
10 19th September. It is from someone who is not
11 identified, the JIO assessment staff.
12 Can you help me who they might be?
13 A. I am afraid I cannot.
14 Q. Right. A series of comments on the revised draft. It
15 is headed "DIS" which is the Defence Intelligence staff;
16 is that right, at the top right-hand corner?
17 A. Yes, it is. I beg your pardon. Sorry.
18 Q. We can see, for example, if we go to page 80, the third
19 item down, that there is an amendment to the number of
20 litres of aflatoxin that were made.
21 If we go down, page 16 it says:
22 "Amend to '4.6 tonnes of growth media'.
23 "Rationale: Clarification of quantity."
24 Page 23 at the bottom:
25 "Amend sentence to read: 'UNSCOM established that in
1 1987..." et cetera.
2 We know from the evidence we were given that
3 Dr Kelly was part of this DIS assessment and these were
4 suggestions at least being passed up to the JIC. None
5 of these documents you will have seen at the time?
6 A. No.
7 Q. And at the time you would have had no knowledge of
8 Dr Kelly's role; is that right?
9 A. No.
10 Q. Did you have any discussions about the conclusion, about
11 whether or not to put a conclusion?
12 A. I did.
13 Q. Can I take your to your diary on 19th September?
14 A. Hmm, hmm. Yes.
15 Q. Perhaps you can just tell us what was said about the
17 A. "Agreed to drop".
18 Q. Who was party to this discussion?
19 A. John Scarlett had drafted a conclusion and had mentioned
20 it to me at one of our discussions a couple of days or
21 some time just before this -- the 19th, where he had
22 said he was not at all sure whether it was needed or
23 not. He asked me to have a look and see what I thought,
24 and I agreed with that. I did not think it added
25 anything to the document.
1 Q. You and John Scarlett agreed not to put in a conclusion?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Can I take you to CAB/11/103, which is an e-mail of
4 19th September. This is from Jonathan Powell to you and
5 John Scarlett.
6 A. Hmm, hmm.
7 Q. And he is saying:
8 "I agree with Alastair, you should drop the
10 That rather looks as if you were at least persuading
11 John Scarlett in relation to the conclusion and then he
12 accepted your suggestions.
13 A. No, I think that there was an e-mail, I do not know if
14 it is in this exchange, but John had -- here we are --
15 it is this one:
16 "I don't think the conclusion works. I would either
17 revert to, and strengthen, the box idea, or drop. In
18 a way, the foreword covers most of the points."
19 Then that is Jonathan commenting on my e-mail,
20 having read the same final draft.
21 Q. Right.
22 A. But John Scarlett had already expressed to me his
23 concern about whether the conclusion was necessary.
24 Q. Right. And your e-mail, you can see, from
25 Alison Blackshaw on your behalf --
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. -- sent to John Scarlett saying:
3 "I don't think the conclusion works."
4 In the third paragraph.
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Reading the e-mail, I know sometimes e-mails can be
7 misleading but it does not refer to an earlier
8 conversation in relation to that aspect.
9 A. No, but I am aware of the conversation we had been
10 having by then. John had had this idea of doing
11 a conclusion but it really sort of wrapped up points
12 that were already in the document and did not add
14 Q. Going back to Jonathan Powell's e-mail at the top, the
15 third line down says:
16 "Alastair [I assume this is back to you]
17 "What will be the headline in the Standard on the
18 day of publication?"
19 A. Search me. Again, I do not believe, and I think this
20 has been checked, I did not reply to this e-mail.
21 Whether I discussed it with Jonathan, I do not know, but
22 I did not reply to the e-mail.
23 Q. If we look at BBC/4/90, this is what the headline was
24 "45 Minutes From Attack". Did you have any hand in the
1 A. I did not. I do not write headlines for the Evening
3 Q. A point that has been made from the BBC evidence is that
4 the 45 minutes claim was identified in the dossier, and
5 was mentioned by the Prime Minister in his address to
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. But they say, apart from I think that they suggest one
9 fleeting reference that the Foreign Secretary made to it
10 some time in February, it was not really picked up
11 thereafter. They say or they suggest that a reason for
12 that was because the Government had become aware,
13 perhaps subsequently, that the intelligence supporting
14 the 45 minutes claim was less than reliable. Was there
15 any reason why it was not highlighted by -- first of
16 all, was it highlighted by Government spokesmen after
17 24th September?
18 A. In fact I think there is an entry in my diary where
19 I record a conversation with either the Foreign
20 Secretary or John Williams, I think it was the Foreign
21 Secretary, where we agreed we would actually let the
22 document and the Prime Minister's words in Parliament
23 speak for themselves. There was not a great briefing
24 operation to draw attention to one particular part. As
25 I recall, I think there were only -- that was certainly
1 one, and that was a very prominent headline, but my
2 recollection at the time was there were maybe two or
3 three newspapers that had as their main story the point
4 about 45 minutes. So I do not accept that it is
5 something that we were pushing terribly hard.
6 Q. Right. Indeed, I think by way of balance we have seen
7 what Mr Gilligan made of the 45 minutes claim on
8 24th September. Do you remember his Today Programme
9 broadcast at the time?
10 A. I do not remember it at the time. I have obviously
11 looked at it since. He said he thought there was
12 nothing new in it.
13 Q. Can I take you back to your diary. What was your
14 impression of the press coverage on the day of
16 A. Well, I hesitate to -- I think me praising a journalist
17 would be --
18 Q. You do not need to read out the entries but it is just
19 the gist of your impression.
20 A. My impression was that the core coverage went well, that
21 some of those who presented themselves as so-called
22 experts were saying that there was nothing new. But the
23 coverage went very well right around the world.
24 Q. Right. But I will have to press to you on one specific
25 person, because of course you know that may be relevant
1 later on. One of the persons you refer to in your diary
2 was Mr Gilligan.
3 A. What I said was:
4 "Gilligan and Marshall [who works for Sky News] and
5 the so-called experts banged on about nothing new but
6 combination of TB statement and the gradual serious
7 build up to the dossier had brought us into a better
9 Q. That is the situation leading up to the drafting of the
11 Now, so you can deal with some of the points that
12 have been suggested, did you have any influence on the
13 inclusion of the 45 minute claim in the dossier?
14 A. None whatever. The words that you read out earlier were
15 the words that were in the draft of the dossier that
16 I saw on the evening of September 10th; and I had no
17 input, output, influence upon them, whatsoever at any
18 stage in the process.
19 Q. Can I just take you to one passage of your evidence to
20 the FAC? This is in your memorandum. It is FAC/3/131.
21 It is about halfway down in paragraph 8 of the
22 memoranda, where you say:
23 "The JIC chairman first sent me a draft of the
24 dossier on 10 September."
25 We have now seen that in the documents.
1 If one goes to page 132 and goes right to the bottom
2 at paragraph 10, you wrote this:
3 "Finally, concerning the most serious allegation
4 against me, that I inserted the 45 minute intelligence
5 whilst knowing it to be untrue, the chairman of the JIC
6 has confirmed that this was already included in the
7 first draft that he sent me (10th September). It was
8 not inserted at my request."
9 Accepting that it was put in by the JIC, it is fair
10 to say this, is it not, that you appear to have seen
11 drafts of the dossier on 5th September?
12 A. No, that is to misunderstand what those documents were.
13 Those meetings on 5th September and 9th September led to
14 the production of the draft that was sent to me on the
15 10th. And as far as I am concerned, the dossier
16 process, the dossier that was published, the WMD
17 dossier, John Scarlett's dossier, this was the first
18 draft and it contained the 45 minute point.
19 Q. Just in terms of the perception that Dr Kelly may have
20 had at the time, as someone who we know from the e-mail
21 of 10th September he was making comments on growth
22 media. We know he was at a session on 19th September at
23 the DIS where a whole series of drafting type
24 suggestions have been made. We also know that producing
25 the dossier was done in a reasonably short timescale,
1 perhaps for intelligence personnel, perhaps not as far
2 as you were concerned. Do you think that people in his
3 position may have had a perception that Downing Street
4 was over-involved in the production of the dossier?
5 A. I do not think they should have had because, as I said
6 at the outset, this was going to be a major event, major
7 international event involving the Prime Minister. And
8 the Prime Minister was presenting this document to
9 Parliament. Therefore the support that I gave
10 John Scarlett was in making sure that the attention to
11 detail that is required for an operation like that was
12 put in place, because, as you rightly say, this is not
13 something that the intelligence community would normally
14 be involved in. It is not something that John Scarlett
15 has experience or expertise in. When he sent me the
16 draft on the 10th, he said in terms: the time has come
17 for me to ask for your presentational advice. That is
18 what I gave him.
19 Q. We were told that intelligence officers draw
20 distinctions that may not be obvious to all of us who
21 are not intelligence personnel, between for example
22 "show" and "indicate" and "suggest". We have seen some
23 of the drafting suggestions you made on 17th September.
24 You have referred, for example, to the fact that "might"
25 might be strengthened up. They have come back and said
1 "no". The fact that you were suggesting a drafting
2 change in that respect; I mean, was that, in your
3 experience, precedented or unprecedented in the
4 production of intelligence material?
5 A. Well, this was the first time that this kind of
6 document, about this type of issue, had been presented
7 in this way. But I, over several years now, have worked
8 very closely with the intelligence agencies,
9 particularly during these conflict situations, where the
10 agencies understand that the communications issues are
11 important to those conflicts. And so it was not
12 unprecedented. We had done a document on Al-Qaida and
13 Osama Bin Laden which involved some work from the
14 intelligence agencies. It was certainly the first time
15 an operation of this scale had been done involving the
16 agencies. That is a further reason why I was so
17 meticulous about the way that I behaved in relation to
18 those agencies and in relation to the drawing up of the
20 Q. I am proposing to move on from the dossier to, first of
21 all, some intermittent complaints about BBC reporting,
22 keeping chronologically, over the war in Iraq.
23 LORD HUTTON: Mr Dingemans, there is one very minor matter
24 I would like my usher to deal with, if you just give me
25 a moment.
1 Yes, Mr Dingemans.
2 MR DINGEMANS: Is there anything, before I move off the
3 dossier, you wanted to say further on that?
4 A. No.
5 Q. Can I then take you to the coverage of the war in Iraq
6 by the BBC and take you to some of the complaints that
7 were made and take you to a document at BBC/4/131. Can
8 you tell us what this is?
9 A. (Pause). This is a letter from myself to Mr Sambrook --
10 Q. Right.
11 A. -- making a number of complaints about BBC coverage
12 during the Iraq ...
13 Q. If I can take you to BBC/4/136 we can see the response
14 that you get from Mr Sambrook, who responds to the
15 points and says he does not always "try to justify our
16 journalism", admitted errors in the past, and goes on to
17 effectively respond to your points, although he, at
18 page 139 at the top, accepts that use of the phrase
19 "within a few hours" by Andrew Gilligan was not precise.
20 The correspondence continues. 31st March,
21 BBC/4/145. This is a complaint effectively about
22 coverage of the regime in Iraq.
23 A. No, that was a complaint about the fact that the BBC, at
24 times, were using Iraqi television reports without
25 making clear to viewers that Iraqi television is part of
1 the Iraqi regime.
2 Q. Right. Then if one continues over the page, at page 146
3 of BBC/4, 1st April. We had 31st March. 1st April you
4 complain about Andrew Gilligan's comments on Radio 5
5 about the damage to the Republican Guard and you make
6 reference to various BBC guidelines in that report.
7 The response we can see at BBC/4/150, which is
8 2nd April 2003.
9 At the top of 151 we can see that there is an
10 admission that Andrew Gilligan did not carry a warning
11 that -- perhaps you can just explain to us briefly what
12 the warning ought to have been.
13 A. In the build up and the start of the Iraq conflict I did
14 make a number of complaints to the BBC that they were
15 not giving viewers and listeners sufficient warning of
16 the fact that their reporters in Baghdad operate under
17 quite severe restrictions applied by the Iraqi regime.
18 Q. So it was that you were referring to. That is a
19 complaint of 1st April.
20 Then can I take you to 2nd April, you say:
21 "On Radio 4 this morning, Andrew Gilligan said ..."
22 You set it out. I think your complaint was about
23 the final comment, was:
24 "Lots of things were different so I'm not quite sure
25 where these intelligence assessments come from it might
1 just be more rubbish from Central Command."
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And we get the response to that at 158. First of all,
4 in fact you identify it wrongly as being on Radio 4
5 whereas it had been on News 24. Mr Sambrook had agreed
6 that his final phrase was unacceptable and made some
7 points about that.
8 A. Hmm, hmm.
9 Q. There are other complaints I can take you to, for
10 example BBC/4/159, if we put that up, 7th April, we have
11 a period of some five days without complaints going
13 But it does seem, looking through the file, that
14 there were a considerable number of complaints that were
15 being made at this time. Is that fair or unfair?
16 A. Unfair, because there was a considerable amount of
17 coverage that was giving us cause for concern.
18 Q. Well, let us just deal with: were there a number of
19 complaints being made? Not whether the complaints were
20 justified; were there a considerable number of
22 A. There were more complaints being made during that period
23 than normally, certainly.
24 Q. That is because your perception was there was unfair or
25 inaccurate coverage?
1 A. Yes, our perception was that BBC viewers and listeners
2 were at times being given a sense of moral equivalence
3 between the democratically elected governments that were
4 involved on one side and the Iraqi regime on the other.
5 Q. It is really against that background of not a breakdown
6 in relationships but where you are unhappy with their
7 coverage and you make complaints, and apart from those
8 limited exceptions I have shown you they effectively
9 have been rejected, that we come to the broadcast on
10 29th May. Is that a fair analysis of the background
11 leading up to the broadcast?
12 A. I do not accept the premise at all that relations had
13 broken down with the BBC.
14 Q. No, no, I said: had not broken down but had become
15 difficult, where you perceived their coverage was not as
16 it ought to be.
17 A. Some of their coverage. I really do want to emphasise:
18 it is some of their coverage. I thought the BBC during
19 the Iraq conflict produced some of the best journalism
20 that there was, and some of their reporters did that.
21 But I thought some of the coverage, and in particular
22 this point about making sure that viewers and listeners
23 understand where information is coming from, I just do
24 not think that some of their reporters, not all of them,
25 gave sufficient regard to that.
1 Q. Can I then turn to the broadcast on 29th May? First of
2 all, where were you on 29th May?
3 A. I was in Kuwait.
4 Q. Do you know whether any notice of the proposed broadcast
5 was given, first of all to No. 10 Downing Street?
6 A. I know that no notice was given to Downing Street.
7 Q. And in relation to the Ministry of Defence, what is your
8 understanding of the notice that was given?
9 A. My understanding is that no notice was given to the
10 Ministry of Defence.
11 Q. Is your understanding that there were discussions
12 between Mr Gilligan and the Ministry of Defence press
13 officer on the night before the broadcast?
14 A. My understanding, from the press officer who spoke to
15 Mr Gilligan, is that they had a discussion about an
16 interview that Adam Ingram, the Defence Minister, was
17 due to give the following morning on a different
19 Q. The broadcast is then made. Can I, perhaps, just take
20 you to BBC/1/4? We can see, perhaps, the strongest
21 piece against the Government is in the first part, where
22 Andrew Gilligan broadcasts:
23 "That's right, that was a central claim in his
24 dossier which he published in September, the main ...
25 case if you like against ... Iraq and the main statement
1 of the British Government's belief of what it thought
2 Iraq was up to and what we've been told by one of the
3 senior officials in charge of drawing up that dossier
4 was that, actually the Government probably ... knew that
5 that 45 minute figure was wrong, even before it decided
6 to put it in. What this person says, is that a week
7 before the publication date of the dossier, it was
8 actually rather ... a bland production. It didn't ...
9 the draft prepared for Mr Blair by the Intelligence
10 Agencies did not actually say very much more than was
11 public knowledge already and ... Downing Street, our
12 source says, ordered a week before publication, ordered
13 it to be sexed up, to be made more exciting and ordered
14 more facts to be er, to be discovered."
15 Then over the page at BBC/1/5 Mr Gilligan's analysis
16 on the third paragraph of the significance of that:
17 "Well the 45 minutes isn't just a detail, it did go
18 to the heart of the Government's case that Saddam was an
19 imminent threat and it was repeated four times in the
20 dossier, including by the Prime Minister himself, in the
21 forward; so I think it probably does matter. Clearly,
22 you know, if erm, if it, if it was, if it was wrong
23 things do, things are, got wrong in good faith but if
24 they knew it was wrong before they actually made the
25 claim, that's perhaps a bit more serious."
1 Mr Gilligan, when I was asking him questions about
2 it, was keen to identify, at the bottom of page 5, can
3 I just take you to that, when Mr Humphrys asks him:
4 "Are you suggesting, let's be very clear about it
5 this, that it was not the work of the intelligence
7 "Mr Gilligan: No, the information which I'm told
8 was dubious did come from the agencies, but they were
9 unhappy about it, because they didn't think it should
10 have been in there. They thought it was, it was not
11 corroborated sufficiently, and they actually thought it
12 was wrong, they thought the informant concerned, erm,
13 had got it wrong, they thought he'd misunderstood what
14 was happening."
15 We have been through a series of the other
16 broadcasts that were made, including, just for balance,
17 can I take you to BBC/1/18? And just below halfway
19 "Well, the draft they originally produced they tell
20 me was actually not terribly exciting, it didn't add
21 very much to what we already knew publicly. What any,
22 kind of anyone who'd followed the story would know
23 publicly, and it didn't satisfy Downing Street and they
24 said eh, look, you know, is there anything more than
25 this -- can, can we make it a bit more exciting please.
1 "Em, and er, they mentioned a few things which they
2 weren't very happy with and at Downing Street's
3 insistence those were written into the document and one
4 of the main things em, that they weren't very happy with
5 was this claim that Iraq could deploy its biological and
6 chemical weapons within 45 minutes.
7 "Now we know, we can be pretty sure now that that
8 claim was actually wrong."
9 That, you know, I hope is a fair summary of some of
10 the reporting that was made that morning.
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. What was your reaction to those reports?
13 A. I was torn really, because, on the one hand, I did not
14 imagine anyone would have taken them terribly seriously,
15 because it is such an extraordinary thing to say, that
16 the Prime Minister and the Government would do that.
17 When I was told the allegations, I was told by
18 Tom Kelly, who was standing next to me at the time,
19 taking a phone call from our office in London, and he
20 told me what the report had said. Given my close
21 involvement in the production of the dossier, I knew the
22 allegations to be false and therefore was able to tell
23 Tom to instruct the press officer to put out a denial.
24 And I said: before doing so, speak to John Scarlett and
25 make sure that he is happy with the wording of the
2 And a rather inelegantly written denial was
3 subsequently put out but it made clear that the
4 allegations were totally false.
5 The reason why I then got more concerned as the day
6 wore on was because shortly after the Prime Minister
7 spoke to British troops when we were in Basra it was
8 clear to me that the travelling press party were frankly
9 more interested in this BBC story than they were in what
10 the Prime Minister had been saying to the troops and his
11 visit to Iraq. So we became more concerned that this
12 was something that was -- that had the potential to do
13 real damage to the Prime Minister and to the Government.
14 So, we issued a series of denials, culminating the
15 following morning in an on-the-record denial from the
16 Prime Minister himself.
17 Q. Can I take you to your diary entry for 29th May and just
18 ask you whether it records anything about the story?
19 A. It refers to me talking to the press about a ghastly
20 Gilligan story claiming that the Intelligence Services
21 were not happy with the dossier and refers to the fact
22 this may be a repeat of some of the stories that were
23 published at the time, the stories of discontent within
24 the agencies.
25 Q. Right. Now, to the extent that it is suggested that
1 some of the Defence Intelligence Services were not happy
2 at the time, I have taken you, I think, to e-mails that
3 we got literally before the Inquiry opened and it was
4 the letter of 8th July and I think I have shown you
5 Dr Kelly's own letter. He is obviously not the
6 Intelligence Services but he was party to a drafting
7 where some suggestions were being made. Is not that
8 part, not least the very more serious allegations that
9 were being made, is not that part of the story true that
10 there was some dissatisfaction, whether right or wrong,
11 by Defence Intelligence Service personnel?
12 A. I do not know that. I have no independent knowledge of
13 that at all, and it may well be there were people within
14 the agencies that talk to journalists, and my experience
15 of the people I know who work in the agencies is that
16 they are very professional and very discrete. So I am
17 not qualified to answer that question.
18 Q. No, but now that you have seen the e-mails that we have
19 seen, and I have shown you those, it does, on the face
20 of it, indicate that at least a few -- and one of them
21 describes themselves as "a very senior person on Iraq
22 weapons of mass destruction".
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. We do not know who he is, so we can only take the
25 description as read and no-one seems to have dissented
1 from that --
2 A. But this was a specific set of allegations about the
3 conduct of the Prime Minister and the Government.
4 Q. Well, that is what I just was wanting to ask you about.
5 You see your diary entry which you have identified deals
6 with "ghastly story, claiming Intelligence Services not
7 happy with the dossier".
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. To the extent that allegation is right, not the other
10 allegations, then it seems that there might have been an
11 objective basis of fact for that particular aspect of
13 A. Well, it is -- when you -- people have drawn attention,
14 for example, to the other reports on the BBC,
15 Gavin Hewitt's report, for example.
16 Q. Yes.
17 A. He may well have spoken to somebody within the
18 Intelligence Services whose judgment was that this was
19 not a sensible thing to do. I do not know that. But
20 that is a very different issue and a very different
21 report. I was dealing with the specific allegations
22 that were being made against the Prime Minister.
23 Q. Can I take you to the letter -- I appreciate you are in
24 Kuwait, so you are not drafting the letter, as it
25 were -- that is written at the time. That is CAB/1/154.
1 This is written by Anne Shevas. Can you tell us who she
3 A. She is the chief Downing Street press officer.
4 Q. What she says is in the absence of Tom Kelly abroad she
5 is writing to express her complaint and concern. Their
6 first concern is there is no contact with Downing Street
7 beforehand; and further concern that the denial is
8 missed and therefore no balancing comment. There was
9 concern that the World at One did not take on
10 Adam Ingram. She says at the bottom:
11 "I should add we categorically deny the allegations
12 made. But our complaint goes beyond this ..."
13 And makes the complaint about balanced reporting,
15 Now, in that letter, and it is drafted on the same
16 day, so no-one has obviously sat down an analysed it --
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. -- no-one has yet spelled out what the particular
19 concern of the Government is: namely, there is
20 a difference between reporting, there are some
21 intelligence personnel who are unhappy -- there may be
22 people unhappy with lots of things -- but that the
23 Government knew the claim to be wrong. Is that fair,
24 when you look at the letter?
25 A. If you look at the letter in isolation, but I was very
1 conscious of the fact, when we were in Basra, of the
2 questions that were being put to myself and Tom Kelly,
3 that that is exactly the allegation that the press were
4 going to focus on, and indeed which the press did focus
5 on in its coverage the next day.
6 Q. What allegation was that?
7 A. That we "sexed up" the dossier, and in particular that
8 we falsified intelligence to put it into the dossier
9 against the wishes of the agencies, which the
10 Prime Minister, never mind me, took very, very seriously
11 as an allegation and he knew to be false.
12 Q. Can I take you very briefly to CAB/1/156, which is the
13 response; first of all, denying that there had been
14 a lack of notice and pointing out that only one item
15 missed out the denial and dealing with the World at One
17 A. Hmm, hmm.
18 Q. Just by way of balance --
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. -- the Prime Minister, as you say, denied the
22 Can I take you to CAB/1/158? This is a document
23 containing some extracts of denials that the
24 Prime Minister had issued.
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Perhaps you can just take us to the top two.
2 A. "... the idea that we authorised or made our
3 intelligence agencies invent some piece of evidence is
4 completely absurd ..."
5 That was in Poland.
6 Then Sky News, Adam Bolton:
7 "... I'm not going into how the intelligence came to
8 us, but I can assure you that everything in that dossier
9 was cleared by the Joint Intelligence Committee, and was
10 their judgment -- not my judgment or another
11 politician's judgment ... their judgment."
12 Q. One comment that has been made, as you have probably
13 seen, by some of those from the BBC who have given
14 evidence, is that you did not pick up and complain about
15 Gavin Hewitt's broadcast. Can I, first of all, take you
16 to that? That is BBC/1/20.
17 A. Before you do that, can I also point out the two
18 specific denials the Prime Minister made on the record
19 about 45 minutes, which is on the same --
20 Q. I was not going to come back to this. So the next two,
21 if you want to read those out.
22 A. "The idea that we doctored intelligence reports in order
23 to invent some notion about a 45 minute capability
24 delivering WMD, the idea that we doctored such
25 intelligence is completely and totally false."
1 Then in the Commons on the 4th, when we came from
2 back from our travels:
3 "... there was no attempt, at any time, by any
4 official or minister or member of No. 10 staff to
5 override the judgments of the JIC. That includes the
6 judgment about the so-called 45 minutes."
7 Q. And those are further examples of the Prime Minister's
8 comments on the matter?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. If I can now go to BBC/1/20, you said that you had not
11 complained about the Gavin Hewitt broadcast. Were you
12 aware of it?
13 A. No.
14 Q. And you can see, at the bottom of page 20, Gavin Hewitt
16 "This is really a story about trust. It begins here
17 at MI6 ... Some of those who work here are said to be
18 uneasy about what the Government did with information
19 they were passed on about Iraq. There were claims today
20 that when Downing Street received the dossier it wanted
21 it toughened up."
22 I have shown you some of the e-mails about
23 revelatory or what we have seen.
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. "When it was eventually published it did contain some
1 dramatic warnings."
2 We have seen how it was interpreted in the press.
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Then there is reference to what the Prime Minister said
5 at the time and what Menzies Campbell has said at the
6 time. Can I take you to the bottom of page 22:
7 "I have spoken to one of those who was consulted on
8 the dossier."
9 Mr Hewitt's evidence was that was Dr Kelly:
10 "Six months work was apparently involved. But in
11 the final week before publication..."
12 If one looks at the chronology it is probably the
13 final three weeks.
14 A. Hmm, hmm.
15 Q. "... some material was taken out, some material put in.
16 His judgment, some spin from No. 10 did come into play.
17 Even so the intelligence community remains convinced
18 weapons of mass destruction will be found in Iraq."
19 What are the distinctions, if any, you draw between
20 that piece and Mr Gilligan's piece?
21 A. Well, some material came in and some went out is an
22 accurate statement of fact. There were, as there always
23 are in these documents, changes in the final phase of
24 production. As for Downing Street spin, we live with
25 the fact that most stories in many of the media outlets
1 have some sort of reference to Downing Street spin most
2 of the time. I did not find that an offensive report.
3 Q. Right.
4 A. It certainly, I felt, was of a different order of
5 magnitude to the report by Mr Gilligan.
6 Q. Can I take you back to your diary, 30th May? I think on
7 30th May you are in Poland?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And we have seen a comment made by the Prime Minister in
10 Poland, that was the top one. Did you speak with anyone
11 from the intelligence agencies on 30th May?
12 A. At the Prime Minister's request I spoke to John Scarlett
13 and Julian Miller to ensure that they were content for
14 the Prime Minister, when he spoke at the press
15 conference with the Polish Prime Minister, to say, with
16 their full backing and authority, what he subsequently
18 Q. Right. It might have been easier if you had put out
19 a letter from them. Did you discuss putting out
20 a letter?
21 A. We did discuss that, and John Scarlett rightly was
22 concerned that it put him, as the chairman of the JIC,
23 into the public domain in a way that he has not been
24 before. So that idea was dropped.
25 Q. Can I then take you on to 1st June? This is another
1 publication from Mr Gilligan. That is The Mail on
2 Sunday report.
3 A. Hmm, hmm.
4 Q. That is BBC/1/27. What was your reaction to this
6 A. (Pause). Funnily enough, during that week at some point
7 I had said to either Godric or Tom, I cannot remember
8 which, "I suspect The Mail on Sunday will get me into it
9 somehow", and there on Sunday it was. It is not
10 untypical of the kind of thing that they would publish.
11 But I was surprised that a BBC reporter had his name on
13 Q. Did that do anything for the feelings between you and
14 Mr Gilligan?
15 A. Well, I get a fair amount written and said about me,
16 a fraction of what is written and said about the
17 Prime Minister. I have to say as far as I was
18 concerned: yes, it did put me right at the centre of the
19 allegations, but my prime motivation remained how to
20 reduce the damage that was being done to the Government
21 by the original allegations which, by then, had gone
22 right round the world several times.
23 Q. It was not only The Mail on Sunday that was identifying
24 you as being personally involved. Can I take you
25 CAB/1/359? This is just a short summary of the
1 Sunday Times article for 1st June, the second paragraph:
2 "Nick Fielding, Sunday Times 1 June, reported that
3 the dossier was the result of a 'deal after months of
4 bitter disagreements between intelligence chiefs and
5 Blair's aides. Campbell had attempted to persuade the
6 agencies to include hard-hitting conclusions. They were
7 reluctant to agree because they said the case was not
9 Did you consider this coverage to be similar to the
10 coverage in the Mail on Sunday?
11 A. Was that on the same day?
12 Q. Yes.
13 A. That weekend, as I think I recorded in my diary, there
14 were all manner of stories about this which did
15 collectively give us some cause for concern. I referred
16 to the Sunday Times story that -- which was inaccurate,
17 we have covered this in our earlier conversation about
18 the conclusion of the dossier, where it was being
19 suggested that I had tried to force John Scarlett to
20 write a conclusion. So these are stories which are
21 inaccurate. But, again, on something like that it may
22 well be -- I do not know that somebody has not said that
23 to Nick Fielding. It happens to be untrue but there is
24 not much I can do about that.
25 The reason why Mr Gilligan's allegations were of
1 a wholly different order is that they were specific.
2 They were not general rumblings of discontent, they were
3 specific allegations about things that we were said to
4 have done, which we had not done.
5 Q. On 1st June, looking at your diary, what was your
6 reaction to all this press coverage?
7 A. I said it was grim. It was grim for me and it was grim
8 for TB and there is this huge stuff about trust.
9 Q. And did you discuss what the allegations were --
10 A. With?
11 Q. With the Prime Minister.
12 A. We had already done that in Iraq and Poland.
13 Q. Right. And did you speak with John Scarlett at all?
14 A. I did.
15 Q. And what was the gist of that conversation?
16 A. The gist of that conversation was John expressing his
17 absolute support and saying how wrong he thought these
18 reports were, and also saying that whatever people lower
19 down in the services may or may not be saying, that is
20 not the view of the people at the top, and he wanted me
21 to know that.
22 Q. And that is 1st June.
23 On 2nd June, there was a broadcast by Newsnight --
24 A. Could I just add to that? I have just seen what he went
25 on to say. He said:
1 "You are the brutal political hatchet man and I am
2 the dry intelligence officer and we have been made to
3 record(?)to our stereotypes. It is not very nice.
4 I assure you it is not coming from the top. He was
5 clear I had never asked him to do anything he was
6 unhappy with. He recalled the various stages of the
7 process, how we said we would present the evidence, then
8 how we retreated last Easter because we feared it would
9 raise the stakes too high. It was not a great document.
10 Then how more and more intelligence came in and we
11 agreed to go for it at the time we did, then the
12 production through Julian Miller."
13 Q. Just picking up that comment, when you were telling me
14 why you had not produced the document in Easter, you
15 gave the reason that it would have raised the
16 temperature at the time.
17 A. That was one of the reasons.
18 Q. It rather looks, from the passage that you have just
19 read, now put into evidence, that there was another
20 reason. What was that other reason?
21 A. That was the reason I referred to earlier, that it
22 actually, as a document, was not terribly good.
23 Q. Because?
24 A. It just was not terribly well put together as a piece of
25 communications work.
1 Q. Not as a piece of communications work. Was there
2 anything about absence of intelligence --
3 A. No, that is not the point I was making there.
4 Q. Newsnight on 2nd June. Can I just take you to a summary
5 of the relevant bit? This is SJW/1/50. And you can see
6 there is an introduction, if one continues down the
7 page. You can see Ms Watts, in the second column,
8 saying that the foreword features a number of phrases
9 four times. She continues in that respect. Over the
10 page, at page 51, first column, second paragraph she
11 says this, second sentence:
12 "We've spoken to a senior official involved with the
13 process of pulling together the original September 2002
14 Blair weapons dossier. We cannot name this person
15 because their livelihood depends on anonymity. Our
16 source made clear that in the run up to publishing the
17 dossier, the Government was obsessed with finding
18 intelligence on immediate Iraqi threats. The
19 Government's insistence the Iraqi threat was imminent
20 was a Downing Street interpretation of intelligence
21 conclusions. His point is that while the intelligence
22 community was agreed on the potential Iraqi threat in
23 the future, there was less agreement about what the
24 Iraqis posed at that moment."
25 Now, first of all, is that actually a broadly
1 accurate summary of what was going on?
2 A. No.
3 Q. And, secondly, did you complain about it?
4 A. About the report?
5 Q. Yes.
6 A. No.
7 Q. Did you see it or were you aware of it?
8 A. I was made aware of it when we came back to the UK and
9 when I --
10 Q. When did you get back to the UK?
11 A. Oh, that is right, I had to -- I left the Prime Minister
12 in Evian because I had to go to a funeral in New York.
13 And I came back on June 4th, by which time I think the
14 Prime Minister was also back. I was made aware of both
15 the Gavin Hewitt and the Susan Watts reports when I was
16 putting together a letter that I was sending to
17 Richard Sambrook about Mr Gilligan's report. And
18 I explicitly took the decision not to complain about
19 those two reports because I thought they were wholly
20 different. Indeed, I thought Susan Watts' report --
21 I did actually almost think of using her report because
22 it made the point that the 45 minute intelligence,
23 according to her source, was put into the dossier with
24 the knowledge and support of the intelligence agencies,
25 indeed by the intelligence agencies.
1 Q. Can I then take you back to the extracts from the diary
2 you have provided? Just pick up on what you considered
3 the main problems to be in relation to weapons of mass
4 destruction discoveries.
5 A. Sorry, where is this?
6 Q. It is about line 4.
7 A. Of?
8 Q. June 2nd.
9 A. I beg your pardon. The main problem was that there had
10 been no WMD discoveries beyond the two labs and no
11 matter how much we said about other priorities, the
12 public were being told as a matter of fact that we had
13 done wrong.
14 Q. That was your thinking at the time, was it?
15 A. That was my thinking for explaining why parts of the
16 media were pressing this story so hard, the
17 Andrew Gilligan story.
18 Q. Did you consider various ways in which this story might
19 be headed off, looking again at the same entry? I think
20 you had a meeting with Jonathan Powell that day; is that
22 A. That is right. That is right. This is now June 3rd.
23 Q. June 2nd?
24 A. I beg your pardon. Right, meeting with Jonathan Powell,
1 Q. So you must have been back in London by then; is that
3 A. I wonder if that is me or -- that is right, I came back
4 and then I went back out to New York for a funeral.
5 I beg your pardon, yes.
6 I met Jonathan Powell. That is where we had the
7 discussion about how we tried to contain this. And
8 there were a number of thoughts. One was whether
9 actually it would be something which by then we probably
10 thought it would be that the ISC might take up because
11 it would have such a potential impact on the standing of
12 the agencies. It was really just a discussion to try to
13 work out what we did.
14 Q. Can you just help me with the thought process in
15 relation to the ISC? I mean, were you trying to
16 initiate an Inquiry by the ISC?
17 A. No, we were just reflecting whether that might be an
18 outcome of this that would actually give it closure, as
19 it were. By now we are now sort of two or three days
20 into this and I refer, in one of my entries, to the
21 sense of a fire storm developing which was causing
22 considerable difficulty with MPs, with the press and by
23 now with the media right around the world. This was
24 a story that went right round the world.
25 Q. Can I then take you on to 3rd June? Again keeping with
1 your diaries, if I may, has the story died down at all
2 from your perspective?
3 A. No. I refer to the fact that Godric Smith phoned me to
4 say -- I think I am by now in New York and he phoned me
5 to say it was, if anything, getting worse.
6 Q. Did you speak with Mr Powell about this?
7 A. I did.
8 Q. And what did you agree?
9 A. This is about the ISC again, is it not?
10 Q. Yes.
11 A. I think by now -- I would have to check this, but
12 I think by now the ISC had indicated they were having
13 some sort of Inquiry. This was a discussion about how
14 that might be -- it is because the ISC reports to the
15 Prime Minister, it is for the Prime Minister -- I think
16 the Prime Minister announces an ISC Inquiry, so we were
17 just discussing how we would do that.
18 Q. Was this, as it were, perhaps an engineering of an ISC
20 A. No.
21 LORD HUTTON: Well, if the Prime Minister announces an ISC
22 Inquiry, is that on the basis that the ISC themselves
23 have decided to conduct an Inquiry or is there
24 a suggestion from the Prime Minister that they should
25 conduct an Inquiry?
1 A. As I understand it, it is for the ISC to decide what it
2 does. But it is unique in the Parliamentary Committee
3 system in that the Prime Minister, because they see
4 intelligence material, the Prime Minister appoints its
5 members. I will have to check this point, but my
6 understanding is that the Prime Minister himself would
7 announce that an Inquiry of this nature was going on.
8 MR DINGEMANS: Moving on, then, if I may, to the 4th June,
9 we know from evidence elsewhere that Sir Kevin Tebbit,
10 who is the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of
11 Defence, has asked Martin Howard, who we have seen give
12 evidence, to try to find out who had been the source of
13 the stories or at least investigate the matter.
14 If we can pick it up at CAB/1/237, this is an
15 extract from Parliamentary Questions on 4th June 2003.
16 If we can go about halfway down the page, the
17 Prime Minister says:
18 "In fairness to the Leader of the House, he did not
19 say that the security services were engaged in anything,
20 but that somebody from the security services was talking
21 -- and it is pretty obvious that that is the case."
22 He is talking about statements that Mr Reid had
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. "There is a serious point in what the right honourable
1 Gentleman says, but I do not believe that the person who
2 is talking is a member of the JIC and I want to make it
3 clear to the House -- I have spoken and conferred with
4 the chairman of the JIC -- that there was no attempt, at
5 any time, by any official, or Minister, or member of
6 No.10 Downing Street staff, to override the intelligence
7 judgments of the JIC. That includes the judgment about
8 the so-called 45 minutes."
9 Then at the bottom of the page:
10 "In relation to all those issues, the Intelligence
11 and Security Committee is at full liberty to go through
12 all the Joint Intelligence Committee assessments and
13 produce a report on them. Because of the importance of
14 the issue, it is only right that a report be published
15 so that people can make a judgment on it."
16 Then he says over the page:
17 "However, the claims that have been made are simply
18 false. In particular, the claim that the readiness of
19 Saddam to use weapons within 45 minutes of an order to
20 use them was a point inserted in the dossier at the
21 behest of No. 10 is completely and totally untrue.
22 Furthermore, the allegation that the 45 minute claim
23 provoked disquiet among the intelligence community,
24 which disagreed with its inclusion in the dossier --
25 I have discussed it, as I said, with the chairman of the
1 JIC -- is also completely and totally untrue."
2 It rather looks from that passage that the
3 Prime Minister is there diverting the dispute, for the
4 reasons that you have given, towards the Intelligence
5 and Security Committee, is that right?
6 A. He felt if this was to be dealt with by a Parliamentary
7 Committee, the ISC was the appropriate Committee to do
9 Q. Was that a suggestion that you had made or
10 Jonathan Powell had made to the Prime Minister?
11 A. I do not recall making that suggestion and I do not know
12 about Jonathan.
13 Q. We know certainly, from what you have told us, that you
14 had had discussions about that on 2nd June and 3rd June.
15 A. I just cannot recall but that may have been the result
16 of something the Prime Minister had asked us to do,
17 I just do not know.
18 Q. Ms Watts then produces another report on 4th June. We
19 have seen that. I will not take you to that, if that is
20 all right.
21 A. Hmm, hmm.
22 Q. But you aware of the gist of that in similar terms to
23 her broadcast on 2nd June?
24 A. I was. But, again, these were insignificant compared to
25 the reports that were then being broadcast and published
1 by media organisations right around the world which were
2 based on Mr Gilligan's report.
3 Q. Right. Can I then take you to 5th June and the
4 Prime Minister's official spokesman specifically rebuts
5 part of the story. It is at CAB/1/172. This is an
6 extract from the lobby briefing.
7 If we go to the bottom of the page, I hope you can
8 see that the questioning is very much relating to
9 Mr Gilligan and Downing Street, et cetera.
10 A. Yes. Yes.
11 Q. And the Prime Minister's official spokesman says:
12 "He had simply pointed out some factual corrections
13 ... he thought it obvious, it was obviously important to
14 do so on the basis of accuracy."
15 He says this at the bottom of the page:
16 "However, given the story was now in its eighth day,
17 it was not unreasonable for us to make factual
18 observations. Asked why we were picking on
19 Andrew Gilligan, the PMOS [Prime Minister's official
20 spokesman] said that if inaccurate information had been
21 given about the role of the JIC, we were perfectly
22 entitled to correct it."
23 Is that the gist of what was going on, in terms of
24 briefings at the time?
25 A. Despite our best efforts and despite the
1 Prime Minister's best efforts the briefings were
2 completely overwhelmed by this issue. It was the only
3 thing, almost without exception, that the press wanted
4 to talk about.
5 Q. Perhaps if I can just take you to your diary entries
6 over this period. 4th June. We have seen the reference
7 to Mr Reid's comments.
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. I think he had said something like: rogue elements in
10 the security services were out to get the Government.
11 A. I do not think he quite said that. He referred to rogue
12 elements in the security services.
13 Q. Did you have any discussions as a result of that?
14 A. I flew back from the funeral I was attending in America
15 and when I landed had messages to call the head of SIS,
16 John Scarlett and David Omand who were, again, keen to
17 stress that these rumblings did not reflect their views,
18 but also, in the head of SIS's case, pointing out that
19 there were implications for the morale of SIS staff if
20 there was any suggestion that Ministers did not trust
21 them. I simply made clear that I did not believe
22 John Reid was making a significant statement and
23 certainly knew that not to be his view about the
24 security services. I indicated that the Prime Minister
25 was bound to be fulsome in his support of the
1 Prime Minister's questions, which as you have just seen
2 he was.
3 Q. On 5th June you start drafting a letter that is sent on
4 6th June.
5 A. To Mr Sambrook?
6 Q. That is correct?
7 MR DINGEMANS: My Lord, perhaps this might be a convenient
9 LORD HUTTON: Yes. I will sit at 2.15.
10 (1.00 pm)
11 (The short adjournment)